clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Lee delivers for Phillies faithful

PHILADELPHIA — The pitching line for Cliff Lee in the Phillies' 3-1 win over Colorado Thursday was quite similar to the one next to his name when he made his debut with the defending World Series champions last Friday in San Francisco.

It's a pitching line his new club will likely see again and again, and rest assured that Lee's teammates and the loyal folks who shoehorn their way into Citizens Bank Park game after game will never tire of it.

One run over nine innings against the Giants. One run over seven innings against the Rockies.

But the 30-year-old lefthander arrived at his first win in his new home park differently, and therein lies his brilliance. It is the reason why he won the Cy Young Award in the American League last season and why general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. saw him as much more than a consolation prize after he turned away from Toronto's demands for Roy Halladay last week.

What worked for Lee against the Giants wasn't working against Colorado at the start of the game, so he took another route to success.

"That's Cliff being Cliff," catcher Paul Bako said after Lee extended his winning streak to five games. "He showed he can make adjustments. Last week, he really pounded the Giants inside with cutters and fastballs, and today he threw a lot of two-seamers and change-ups away and threw the ball great. His cutter wasn't working as well. He's shown he can make adjustments."

Lee has a simple approach — throw strikes, work fast, and trust your defense. Sounds like Pitching 101, but it Is a class that the large number of cautious nibblers around the game apparently missed.

"He gets the game going," manager Charlie Manuel said after the Phils took the three-game series from Colorado with their second win. "He gets the game into a flow and that's especially good for the guys behind him. And it shows a lot of self confidence."

Lee didn't care much for the way things got going against the Rockies in a game played in a swift 2 hours, 22 minutes. He was in trouble after Dexter Fowler led off the game with a hard-hit double down the left-field line and Seth Smith singled him to third. First and third, nobody out. But after Todd Helton scored Fowler with a sacrifice fly, Lee put the Rockies to sleep, holding them to four more hits and striking out nine while walking one before Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge efficiently closed it out.

"To come out of first and third and nobody out with one run, I'm pleased with that," said Lee, who doesn't bother to ice his arm after he pitches. "From there, I felt like I locked in a little bit more and gave the team a chance, and that's really the ultimate goal. To get the first one out of the way in Philly, I feel good about that."

Bako, the backup to Carlos Ruiz who is wearing his 11th different big-league uniform, had his biggest hit as a Phillie when he began the fifth inning with his first home run since June 3 of last season to give the Phils a 2-1 lead. Jimmy Rollins, who had three hits, scored the other two runs.

"Personally, I was scuffling for the last 10 days or so," said Bako, who also had a single. "So it was nice to break out of it a little bit. But it started with Cliff and how he threw. Some of the pitches they were swinging at and some they were taking showed how well he hides the ball and how nasty his pitches are."

Afterward, Lee said it was important to him to quickly prove his worth with the Phillies and show his new teammates who he was. So far, it's been quite an introduction.